Present Climate Conditions


Just how cold was it?

An intense and short-lived Arctic invasion, following an early-weekend snowstorm, produced some of the coldest readings recorded in southern Minnesota since the infamous 2013-14 winter.

The cold peaked in the morning hours of Sunday December 18th, with temperatures falling into the -20s and even the -30s F across much of Minnesota. The lowest temperature in the state was -38 F, at Embarrass, and many low-lying areas reported readings colder than -30F. Unlike typical cold outbreaks, which rely on calm conditions and "radiational cooling," this one was ushered in by stiff winds. As a result, windchills in the -30s and -40s were widespread throughout Minnesota on Sunday morning. The cold had abated by late in the day, and most areas had warmed to above 0 F as Monday began.

As cold as it was, there was nothing extraordinary about this episode. In the Twin Cities, the low temperature of -20 F was four degrees shy of the record low for December 18th, and tied for just the 37th coldest December temperature on record. It was, however, the first reading this cold in December since 1996, and the earliest in the season since 1983.

Coldest December daily low temperatures, Twin Cities
Low Temperature  Occurrences Most recent date
-39 F 1 12/25/1879
-31 F 1 12/24/1872
-29 F 1 12/19/1983
-27 F 6 12/26/1996
-25 F 2 12/24/1983
-24 F 8 12/23/1990
-23 F 4 12/31/1976
-22 F 10 12/25/1996
-21 F 3 12/19/1955
-20 F 17 12/18/2016
-19 F 19 12/30/1976
-18 F 15 12/20/1996

 

Here are some wind chill reports gathered from the Grand Forks and Chanhassen National Weather Service offices.

Public Information Statement 
National Weather Service Grand Forks ND 
823 AM CST Sun Dec 18 2016 

...Lowest Wind Chill Reports... 

Location                     Temp      Time/Date                            
Bagley MN                    -55 F     0420 AM 12/18                        
Lake Park MN (DOT)           -50 F     0710 AM 12/18                        
Gwinner ND (APT)             -49 F     0535 AM 12/18                        
Moorhead MN (APT)            -49 F     0754 AM 12/18                        
Hendrum MN (DOT)             -49 F     0728 AM 12/18                        
Fosston MN (APT)             -48 F     0553 AM 12/18                        
Shooks MN (DOT)              -48 F     0635 AM 12/18                        
Brooks MN (DOT)              -48 F     0620 AM 12/18                        
Donaldson MN (DOT)           -47 F     0740 AM 12/18                        
Thief R Falls MN (APT)       -47 F     0556 AM 12/18                        
Mahnomen MN (APT)            -46 F     0155 AM 12/18                        
Munich ND                    -46 F     1030 PM 12/17                        
Chamberlain MN (DOT)         -46 F     0630 AM 12/18                        
Cooperstown ND (APT)         -46 F     1235 AM 12/18                        
Staples MN (APT)             -46 F     1232 AM 12/18                        
7 N Salol                    -45 F     0700 AM 12/18                        
Langdon ND (APT)             -45 F     0435 AM 12/18                        
Grafton ND (APT)             -45 F     0535 AM 12/18                        
Dilworth MN (DOT)            -45 F     0510 AM 12/18                        
E Grand Forks MN (DOT)       -45 F     0718 AM 12/18                        
Verndale MN (DOT)            -45 F     0705 AM 12/18                        
Devils Lake DOT Hwy 20       -45 F     1053 PM 12/17                        
Elbow Lake MN (APT)          -45 F     0739 AM 12/18                        
Wadena MN (APT)              -44 F     0452 AM 12/18                        
Fergus Falls MN (APT)        -44 F     0734 AM 12/18                        
Rothsay MN (DOT)             -44 F     0715 AM 12/18                        
Bowesmont ND (DOT)           -44 F     0738 AM 12/18                        
Park Rapids MN (APT)         -44 F     0653 AM 12/18                        
Roseau MN (APT)              -44 F     0555 AM 12/18                        
Mcleod ND 3 N                -44 F     0449 AM 12/18                        
Cando ND (APT)               -43 F     0315 AM 12/18                        
Crookston MN (APT)           -43 F     0754 AM 12/18                        
Grand Forks ND (APT)         -43 F     0253 AM 12/18                        
Hallock MN (APT)             -43 F     0754 AM 12/18                        
Badger MN (DOT)              -43 F     0430 AM 12/18                        
Gatzke MN 2 ENE              -43 F     0740 AM 12/18                        
4 W Churchs Ferry            -43 F     0938 PM 12/17                        
Roseau MN (DNR)              -43 F     0808 AM 12/18                        
Wahpeton ND (APT)            -42 F     0735 AM 12/18                        
Flag Island MN               -42 F     0337 AM 12/18                        
Karlstad MN (DNR)            -42 F     0806 AM 12/18                        
Baudette MN (APT)            -41 F     0753 AM 12/18                        
Fort Totten ND               -41 F     0351 AM 12/18                        
Grand Forks ND (AFB)         -41 F     0858 PM 12/17                        
Warroad MN (APT)             -41 F     0734 AM 12/18                        
Cavalier ND (APT)            -40 F     0655 AM 12/18                        
Gatzke MN 9 SW (DNR)         -40 F     0620 AM 12/18                        
Badoura MN (DNR)             -40 F     1206 AM 12/18                        
Bemidji MN (APT)             -40 F     0732 AM 12/18                        
Detroit Lakes MN (DNR)       -40 F     0620 AM 12/18                        
Detroit Lakes MN (APT)       -40 F     0554 AM 12/18                        
Fargo ND (APT)               -40 F     0353 AM 12/18                        
Ottertail MN (DOT)           -40 F     0611 AM 12/18                        
Buffalo ND 7 N (DOT)         -40 F     0323 AM 12/18                        
Red Lake Falls MN (ES)       -40 F     0619 AM 12/18                        
Bemidji MN (DNR)             -39 F     0606 AM 12/18                        
Devils Lake ND (APT)         -39 F     1056 PM 12/17                        
Grand Forks ND (DOT)         -39 F     0738 AM 12/18                        
Bemidji MN (Central ES)      -38 F     0755 AM 12/18                        
Baudette MN (DNR)            -38 F     0806 AM 12/18                        
Ponsford MN 10 N             -37 F     1148 PM 12/17                        
Moorhead MN (DOT)            -37 F     0520 AM 12/18                        
Red Lake MN (HS)             -37 F     0744 AM 12/18                        
Frontier ND (S Fargo)        -36 F     0601 AM 12/18                        
Waskish MN (APT)             -36 F     1254 AM 12/18                        
Fargo ND (I-94 DOT)          -35 F     0738 AM 12/18                        
Valley City ND (VCSU)        -35 F     0511 AM 12/18                        
Red Lake MN (DNR)            -35 F     0810 AM 12/18                        
Walhalla ND (APT)            -34 F     0435 AM 12/18                                              

Public Information Statement
National Weather Service Twin Cities/Chanhassen MN
949 AM CST Sun Dec 18 2016

...Coldest Wind Chills from December 18th...

Location                     Temp       Lat/Lon
Clara City 2WSW              -49 F      44.95N/95.41W
Hanley Falls                 -48 F      44.69N/95.61W
Winthrop 2W                  -48 F      44.54N/94.41W
Clearwater 1SE               -48 F      45.39N/94.03W
New Ulm AP                   -48 F      44.32N/94.50W
Hutchinson AP                -48 F      44.86N/94.38W
Henderson 4ENE               -47 F      44.57N/93.84W
Paynesville AP               -47 F      45.37N/94.75W
Granite Falls AP             -47 F      44.75N/95.56W
Redwood Falls AP             -47 F      44.55N/95.08W
New Prague 2W                -46 F      44.54N/93.62W
Cannon Falls 7SSE            -46 F      44.41N/92.86W
Fairmont AP                  -46 F      43.64N/94.42W
Belgrade 3ESE                -46 F      45.43N/94.93W
Morris AP                    -46 F      45.57N/95.99W
Silver Lake 3E               -46 F      44.91N/94.12W
Madison AP                   -46 F      45.00N/96.18W
Olivia AP                    -46 F      44.78N/95.03W
Ellendale 5NNE               -46 F      43.95N/93.27W
Red Wing 4W                  -45 F      44.60N/92.70W
Mayer 1NE                    -45 F      44.91N/93.87W
Starbuck 8SSW                -45 F      45.49N/95.56W
Glenwood AP                  -44 F      45.64N/95.32W
Waconia 1WSW                 -44 F      44.84N/93.82W
Appleton AP                  -44 F      45.23N/96.00W
Owatonna AP                  -44 F      44.12N/93.26W
Cumberland AP                -43 F      45.50N/91.98W
Twin Lakes 5 SE              -43 F      43.51N/93.35W
St. James AP                 -43 F      43.99N/94.56W
Sauk Centre 2SE              -43 F      45.71N/94.93W
Sauk Centre AP               -43 F      45.71N/94.93W
Litchfield 3S                -43 F      45.07N/94.53W
Stanton AP                   -42 F      44.48N/93.02W
Morristown (Cannon R)        -42 F      44.23N/93.45W
Redwood Falls 1ESE           -42 F      44.54N/95.09W
Balsam Lake 1 NNW            -42 F      45.48N/92.47W
Eden Prairie AP (Flyg Cloud) -42 F      44.83N/93.46W
Milaca 8N                    -42 F      45.88N/93.66W
Alexandria AP                -42 F      45.87N/95.39W
Marietta 5SSW                -41 F      44.94N/96.44W
Alexandria 2SSE              -41 F      45.84N/95.37W
Madelia 3ENE                 -41 F      44.08N/94.37W
Lakeville AP                 -41 F      44.63N/93.23W
Hutchinson 1WSW              -41 F      44.88N/94.39W
Tony AP (Rusk County)        -40 F      45.50N/91.00W
Granite Ledge 7N             -40 F      45.90N/93.85W
Rice 1NNW                    -40 F      45.77N/94.23W
Le Center                    -40 F      44.39N/93.73W
Springfield 1NW              -40 F      44.26N/94.99W
Montevideo AP                -40 F      44.98N/95.71W
Ramsey 2SSW                  -40 F      45.24N/93.46W
Branch 8ENE                  -40 F      45.55N/92.80W
Maple Lake 2SSW              -39 F      45.20N/94.02W
Woodville 1S                 -39 F      44.94N/92.29W
Rice Lake AP                 -39 F      45.43N/91.77W
New Richmond AP              -39 F      45.15N/92.54W
Cokato 2W                    -39 F      45.08N/94.24W
St. Cloud AP                 -39 F      45.54N/94.05W
Eden Prairie 1WNW            -39 F      44.86N/93.48W
Owatonna                     -39 F      44.10N/93.22W
Glencoe AP                   -39 F      44.76N/94.08W
Sauk Rapids HS               -39 F      45.61N/94.19W
Morris (St. Marys Sch)       -39 F      45.59N/95.92W
Waseca AP                    -39 F      44.07N/93.55W
Farmington 1ESE              -38 F      44.65N/93.15W
West St. Paul 1NNW           -38 F      44.91N/93.09W
Buffalo 1NNW                 -38 F      45.19N/93.88W
Eau Claire AP                -38 F      44.87N/91.49W
Shakopee 1W                  -38 F      44.77N/93.50W
Farmington 2ESE              -38 F      44.64N/93.14W
Mankato AP                   -38 F      44.22N/93.92W
Gordonsville (Shell Crk)     -38 F      43.51N/93.27W
Rice Lake                    -37 F      45.50N/91.75W
Brooklyn Park 2SSE           -37 F      45.09N/93.34W
Carver 3S                    -37 F      44.72N/93.64W
New Hope                     -37 F      45.04N/93.38W
Red Wing AP                  -36 F      44.59N/92.50W
Bloomington 2E               -36 F      44.83N/93.28W
West St. Paul 1N             -35 F      44.93N/93.08W
Ellsworth 2ESE               -35 F      44.72N/92.44W
Crystal AP                   -35 F      45.06N/93.35W
Elk River 2SSW               -35 F      45.30N/93.58W
Menomonie AP                 -35 F      44.89N/91.88W
New Richmond                 -35 F      45.11N/92.53W
Stillwater                   -35 F      45.05N/92.83W
French Lake                  -35 F      45.20N/94.20W
Foley 6WSW                   -35 F      45.62N/94.02W
Sauk Rapids 4E               -35 F      45.61N/94.07W
Champlin 2ESE                -35 F      45.15N/93.36W
Northfield 2WNW              -35 F      44.47N/93.21W
Maple Lake AP                -35 F      45.25N/94.00W
Minneapolis-St. Paul AP-MSP  -35 F      44.88N/93.23W

Observations are collected from a variety of sources with varying 
equipment and exposures. Not all data listed are considered official. 
Last modified: December 19, 2016
For more information contact: climate@umn.edu